IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

LAUSD Rolls Out Proprietary AI Assistant for Students, Parents

“Ed,” an interactive co-pilot that allows students to access learning materials, and parents to monitor their child, will be available to all families in the Los Angeles Unified School District in the coming weeks.

A young student wearing headphones and interacting with a chatbot on a mobile device.
Trust Ed to wake you up in the morning, present your class schedule, display the school cafeteria menu, inform you to the exact second when the school bus arrives, and alert you to what subjects you are falling behind in and why.

Trust Ed, fluent in 100 languages, to tell you your child’s precise location and activity at school and academic achievement scores in real time.

That’s just for starters. As Ed and the students get to know each other better, all learners in the Los Angeles Unified School District will have a clear personalized pathway — and parents/guardians will be partners in that journey — to fulfill their potential, LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Wednesday to a public audience over a live-streamed announcement, speaking from the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles.

Ed, personified by an interactive chatbot that appears to be a spikey-shaped sun with dimples and arms, but no legs, is a personalized artificial intelligence-powered copilot that 55,000 students can now access via the district website. In the weeks to come, all 540,000 students in the K-12 district and their parents or guardians will have access to it. Carvalho called Ed “the nation’s first AI-powered learning acceleration platform.”

“Then we will open additional doors, and we will go from an AI-powered access to information to generative AI capability,” Carvalho said during Wednesday’s event, which was attended by state officials, teachers, school administrators, students and parents. “That transition will be taken as Ed learns us and as we learn Ed. This human-in-a-loop combination with artificial intelligence, combined with all of the resources we have, combined with the data we have on our students, has the possibility — the potential — to actually ... personalize the educational journey at a level never before seen in this district, across the country or in the world.”

Ed was developed by AllHere, a Boston-based company that specializes in school communication software. According to the company’s website, since 2016 it has counted more than 8,000 schools across 34 states as customers.

Carvalho assured the audience that none of the information shared with Ed will ever make its way outside of the LAUSD community, and that AllHere can’t access student or family information. Local, state and federal agencies will also have a role in monitoring the AI tool’s growth while ensuring district privacy safeguards. It also has filters that restrict offensive language or content.

The superintendent guaranteed humans will always be in control of Ed.

“Artificial intelligence will never replace the talent of a teacher,” he said.

Carvalho also touted Ed’s function as a single sign-on platform that accesses all tools across every subject area, as opposed to logging in and out of multiple websites in a single school day.

“Once in, you do not need to knock on any additional door for you to be guided and explore your own world of learning. It learns you. It knows you. It advances the next step for you,” he said.

Following his opening remarks, the superintendent, audience members and an Ed mascot made their way to different stations set up to show off Ed’s capabilities. Carvalho asked attendees what they thought of the AI-powered tool so far, and he responded to questions.

“Ed connects with every single kid,” he said to a man watching a demonstration on a tablet. “The more the interaction, the more they’ll feel comfortable with Ed.”

AllHere CEO Joanna Smith-Griffin said she was confident the AI-powered tool would make “ultra-personalized learning a reality for every student” in LAUSD.

“Looking at 2024 and beyond, we see a trajectory of growth for Ed that allows us to share our effective AI on an unprecedented scale and in unprecedented settings,” she said in a public statement.
Aaron Gifford has several years of professional writing experience, primarily with daily newspapers and specialty publications in upstate New York. He attended the University at Buffalo and is based in Cazenovia, NY.